There are no ballerina pivots in Jackie (2016), but it is about “pivots” in life or pivotal events.  Something happens and life revolves around this, it is pivotal.

The event can be untimely and disturbing, but life is not forever altered by the event. The event and its aftermath passes.

This movie is about how Jackie Kennedy (Natalie Portman) copes with the assassination of her husband, President Kennedy, which was a pivotal event in her life.

Jackie takes the viewer on a journey through Jackie Kennedy’s grief at losing her husband, President Kennedy.

As a consequence of his departure, Jackie shows her personal grief and how she emerges out of the White House after two years as First Lady, though her leaving is premature.


The pivotal event causes Jackie to react with an outpouring of grief and disillusionment. She is a real woman dealing with the horror-stained death of her beloved husband.


Natalie Portman (Pictured in 2015)
Natalie Portman (Pictured in 2015)

It is a cruel, inflicting death, which she is eye witness to and far too close for comfort.

Pivotal events can cause public figures to take stock of how they are doing in the public eye. One does not want to let one’s personal feelings to be made into a media event. This sounds so familiar. The event of President Kennedy’s death causes her to divide her private world of grief—a grief which is shot with Portman’s vivid and powerful portrayal—and her public life.

Jackie says she is not dealing with grief the way an ordinary woman would. As they say, not everyone does grief the same way, but in the feelings her grief brings to the surface, others who have gone through grief will relate.

Moving away

The event of his death lasts for as long as she can let go of its negative meaning. She has to let go of her husband at a philosophical level and a personal one.

How does she do it? She has friends, family and a priest, and she needs space to process what happened alone. She needs to ask the hard questions. She also needs to process her relationship to power, in her husband, and in herself.

The thought that there is a life beyond grief and death is helpful. The advice of others to begin again rings true, a new life out of the gaze of the public eye. Therefore, succumbing to the negatives of pivotal events doesn’t define individuals, or for that matter nations, forever.

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